Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

Turning ADHD Disadvantages into Advantages

If you’re tired of hearing about all the bad, negative things about ADHD then this post is for you! This post isn’t to downplay the serious consequences of living with ADHD, it’s to take another perspective and reframe it in a positive way which has worked for me. Of course, many of these on my list have serious consequences which I have had to work through. ADHD isn’t curable, but sometimes we let it kick us when we are down and like the boxing coach says, ‘stay down’. I’ve never been one to ‘stay down’, I’m stubburn like that!

1) Distraction. As I wrote in a recent blog post, I have learned to appreciate my distracted nature. It has taken me places I would never have gone, or much less dreamed of. It really has led me on some awesome adventures down alleyways, backwoods and vivid, spectacular places in my own imagination I would have never visited were I not distracted. I have met people thanks to being distracted, I have found new hang outs and discovered new hobbies I enjoy thanks to my distraction. I remember a day in Northern Germany when I took a wrong turn because I had not been paying attention and I came to the Ocean’s shore with Denmark just barely visible on the other side. It was an amazing view that I will never forget and I would have never witnessed from that place if I had not been distracted. – Has your distracted nature ever led you somewhere that you were so happy that it did? Sometimes instead of kicking ourselves, maybe we may consider going “Wow, look at that!”
2) Out of the Box Thinking. Do we come up with some off the wall stuff or what? I even amaze myself with some of the stuff I come up with and the crazy thing is, the stuff works. I have used so much of my out of the box thinking to powerful effect and have won multiple awards in doing so. It’s like: “Where does that stuff come from?” Many jobs ask employees to think outside the box and that’s where I truly shine! If you read many of my blog posts and the interpretations I come up with for aspects , circumstances and explanations for my behavior, you will find some really off the wall stuff, but a lot of folks have found sense in my writing. Take a look at the titles of my last two books. Need I say more? Some of my out of the box thinking on the surface seems way out there, but it works for me and that’s my ADHD way! I have learned to embrace this. – What about you? The next time you come up with an idea that seems too off the wall for anyone to consider, just put it out there anyway. You might be surprised. Too many times, when we have a low opinion of ourselves we decline to take any chances because we think no one will like it anyway. We stop ourselves before we even get started when we think like that. I know I did.
3) Creativity. Many will tell you that creativity in of itself is not a ‘trait’ of ADHD and I do tend to agree with that, because all people are creative in their own ways. But even so, if you combine our symptoms and traits of distraction, out of the box thinking and hyper focus, among many others – we come up with some amazingly creative things that even the most creative people without ADHD would never dream of. Sort of the way I mix my positive thinking with ADHD. You find a lot of people discussing the positive aspects of ADHD etc, and I have been copied a lot from my blogs and books, but the resource for new and fresh, creative perspectives is right up here (I am pointing at my head right now – typing with one hand while I do it). – Have you found that your unique ADHD ways has given you creative inspiration?
4) Hyper Focus. If there is any aspect of ADHD that I absolutely love, it is my ability to hyper focus on something. As I have written before, this used to be a real negative, but this is a positive only post so I am not going into that part. I love it when I get so caught up in something that I just keep going and going, nothing can distract me from it and the ideas that come to me while in this mode can be fully utilized. Hyper focusing is especially helpful to me when I am writing. I can really get my emotions into my writing via hyper focusing. Not everyone is a writer, but that doesn’t mean hyper focus can’t be used in other areas where you have a deep interest. Hyper focusing usually occurs for me when I have a very sincere interest and place a high value on something. – Do you utilize hyper focusing in things you love to do?
5) Recovery. Yes, you read that right. I mean recovery from low self-esteem and depression of the repercussions of living with undiagnosed ADD. (Read my book One Boy’s Struggle: A Memoir). Recovery and learning all I can about ADHD has made me so much more aware of what people, like me, go through when dealing with something not only extremely difficult and wide ranging, but also frustratingly confusing, not to mention the oft-times negative public attitude towards the condition. Recovery has filled me with a caring I previously didn’t have, or was hidden within me on top of my own problems. It has given me the strength and courage to talk about my issues and reach out to others in so many ways. This is probably the greatest benefit of my ADHD. I know firsthand the challenges and difficulties dealing with a life of complex, confusing struggles, much less overcoming them. We are not alone, no, never alone. – What about you? Have your situations, and the lessons you have learned, given you a new perspective or understanding which enables you in ways that you might not have considered before?
6) Mentally Hyper. I am hyper fast mentally. This is another aspect of my ADHD mind that I have come to treasure and use resourcefully in my day to day dealings. I understand now that this is a major reason I would become so bored back before I was diagnosed. People would drone on and on when I already comprehended and was ready to move on. In One Boy’s Struggle I talk about an electronics class I was in and it was a free paced class, but once a student got to a certain point they had to wait for the rest of the class to catch up. By the time the rest of the class caught up I had become bored and disinterested and eventually failed the class and lost my interest in electronics. Such a shame how our students too often get lost in a system that doesn’t recognize or react quick enough to sparks of talent and interest.

We will have setbacks, indeed, we all do, it’s a natural process of life, but way too often with ADHD we have more setbacks than forward motion – don’t give up, don’t give in, don’t let the setbacks pull you under. Try to flip them over, examine them closely and search for advantages within you, because they are there! What did you learn from a setback? Every lesson learned is an advantage. Find mentors and supporters who help you see the advantages inherent in you. They are there, sometimes they are like wonderful, glistening gems, but like most gems they are hidden until uncovered – sometimes, even in plain sight. Define your gifts for yourself. If we are going to break the rules, color outside the lines and think outside the box, we might as well find ways to make those things work for us! Your gifts and advantages are whatever you define them to be.

If you are looking for advantages within, or want to create your own, this post was inspired from this forum post: Advantages of having ADHD/ADD Maybe you have something you would like to add to it?